After making a statement Wednesday night against the Boston Celtics, the Cleveland Cavaliers gained an edge for the number one spot in the East. Following the loss to Cleveland, the Celtics also dropped a game to the Atlanta Hawks Thursday night and are now two games behind the Cavs in the loss column. Although the Cavaliers have the tougher schedule to close out the season, the Celtics may have lost the chance to get the first seed.

Cleveland’s remaining schedule

The Cavaliers have four games remaining, playing the Hawks twice, the Miami Heat, and the Toronto Raptors. They will play one game at home and the others on the road against the Hawks, and will be at home against the Raptors and on the road against Miami.

If the Celtics go undefeated in their final three games, the Cavaliers will have to win at least two of their games to clinch the conference, which is very possible. They own the tiebreaker over Boston, which should significantly help their chances of taking the best record in the East. The only thing that would stop the Cavs from gaining the number one spot would be if Tyronn Lue rests his star players, which shouldn’t happen.

Boston’s remaining schedule

The Celtics have an easier schedule to conclude the season, playing on the road against the Charlotte Hornets, and at home against the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks. All three of those contests are winnable games for Boston, barring any surprises.

Since they don’t have the tiebreaker over Cleveland, they will have to make sure to win all three. The bad news is that the Cavaliers are likely to win some of their games as well to hold onto the number one seed. Boston losing to Atlanta was essentially the deciding factor. Falling behind two games in the loss column will be tough to recover from, especially since they don’t own the tiebreaker.

In the end, the Cavaliers should secure the Eastern Conference. They seem to have found their rhythm, winning four games in a row now, and have regained momentum. LeBron James is preparing himself and his team for the playoffs, so his focus is back and he will not let the team squander the top spot.

Meanwhile, after a blowout loss to the Cavs, the Celtics showed that they are not ready to overthrow the defending champions just yet.

As for the playoffs, it still seems like there are no other teams in the East that could be a major challenge for the Cavaliers. Even though they’ve had their ups and downs during the season, they are still the clear favorites.

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